SNP MEP and Member of the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee Ian Hudghton has expressed concern at apparent EU efforts to meddle in the structure and organisation of professional football in Europe. Mr Hudghton voiced his apprehension following the publication of a series of proposals which were discussed at a special hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels today (Wednesday).

The most controversial proposals argue that professional football is an economic activity and as such should be fully liable to EU competition and internal market rules. There is also a suggestion that the current professional club structure in Europe is incompatible with EU competition rules.

But the proposals have been criticised by SNP MEP Ian Hudghton who said:

"As far as I'm concerned we're getting near the point where genuine concern and interest becomes unnecessary meddling and that will be bad news for Europe and for football alike.

"We should be wary of any efforts by politicians to meddle in the structure or organisation of competitive sport - particularly when there is no compelling evidence that any of the reforms being put forward would benefit the game.

"There are examples of where European law can apply to aspects of professional sport but some of the proposals touted today treat football as purely a commercial venture and nothing more. To my mind, the common sense approach would be to allow the sport's authorities to give leadership in developing the future of professional football, free from political meddling. The role of politicians should be to offer support and encouragement but that must not turn into interference - however well intentioned."

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